Whether you’ve grown up with the Jurassic Park movies or you have a kid who loves dinosaurs, visiting Field Station Dinosaurs in Secaucus is a must! This relatively new park, almost on the banks of the Hudson River, exhibits almost 40 life-size, very realistic animatronic dinosaurs. They move, turn their heads, wag their tails, and of course ROAAARRRR. The trails through lush green forests weave among every type of dinosaur: Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Argentinosaurus, Velociraptors and more. They are really impressive: huge ones with long necks and big tails, predators on two-feet with menacing fangs, quirky spiked ones, or flying pterodactyls.
The entire park has a camp/expedition feel. There are tents among the trees, 4x4s parked by the roadside (one of them carrying cooing baby dinosaurs), yurts and other improvised buildings (that host various exhibits and shows). The roaring of the dinosaurs is ubiquitous, and it could really scare some little kids.
I visited with my 2-and-a-half year-old son and he had a blast (we both had, actually). He only got scared by the first dinosaur, and then he got used to it and loved everything else (I understand sometimes they lower the sound volume when there are many young children in the park). There are several stations around the park where children can engage in lots of activities. Most of them are geared towards 5 and up, but my kid kept busy too. There’s puzzle building available, he examined a real dinosaur head, played with a real turtle, touched lizards and a big snake, etc. Every half hour there’s a music and dance shows in the main amphitheater, which engage the children, and there are musicians playing at various other locations too.
One of the most loved kid activities is the fossil dig site: a big sandy area where kids of all ages get shovels and brushes, and dig in the sand to find dinosaur bones. In between the dig site and the amphitheater is the food court, where you can get everything from burgers and hot dogs to popcorn and icecream. There’s a covered picnic tent, and there’s also a special area for birthday parties.
As you come back from that central show/food area, there are even more threatening dinosaurs (including two fighting ones), and then you go up to “The Lookout”, which is dominated by a T-Rex and one of the biggest ones in the park (something like 80-100 feet long). Heading back towards the exit, there’s a big tent that hosts the Dinosaur Alive 3D movie. I was surprised that my son lasted through the entire 25 minutes in his seat, it was actually the first time he sat at a movie, so it must’ve been good!
We went on a Saturday, around 10:30 and it wasn’t that busy at first. It only got crowded after noon, so it’s a good idea to go early, and beat the heat and the crowds. To get there, taking the train is also an option, since there’s less than a half-mile walk from the Secaucus station to the park entrance. Don’t forget your camera since there are tons of great photo opportunities, with the dinosaurs being so realistically recreated (and, hmmmm if they’re 100% accurate, the park actually explains how dinosaurs became extinct).
Field Station Dinosaurs is a great destination for a half-day trip, and it’s less than an hour away from the Northern part of the Jersey Shore. The walk through the park is easy and you could probably finish it in an hour, but if you go to the 3D movie, watch the shows and let your kids engage in activities, you can easily spend 3 hours (like we did). It could be a bit pricey, but buy your tickets online the night before to get some nice savings. I’m looking forward to visiting again in a year or two! More photos are available on our Facebook page.
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